Superb flavor. distinct fruity chocolate tones, cherryish and round, are balanced by a tobaccoey dryness. When the coffee is hot the chocolate-fruit tones are fresh, complex, and thrilling. There is something that tastes almost green or herbal that adds, perhaps, a taste of the steep mountain terraces it is grown on.
Industry Review: Best Quality Coffee
Roast: Dark Medium
Processing: Natural & Dried on Raised Beds
Altitude: 1900 - 2440 M.A.S.L.
Harvest: October to January
12 oz. Handcrafted Organic Coffee
Yemen is in the news frequently these days, but not for the reasons we think it should be. It produces some of the best coffee in the world, despite very difficult conditions, and it has been doing so for hundreds of years. Our current crop of Yemen Mattari is just beyond words. As a primary component of our Mocha Java, it also means our proprietary blend is better than ever.
So, what do we know about this interesting corner of the world, which sits across a narrow strait from Africa, at the Bab el Mandeb, the "Gate of Grief" which connects the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea? Some believe that Yemen and Ethiopia were once part of the Kingdom of Sheba, of the Queen of Sheba fame. It may be that she was from Yemen itself, since many believe that the kingdom's capital was located there. But our interest is in Yemeni agriculture, and, its coffee.
Only 3% of Yemen's land is considered arable, and just under a quarter of that is dedicated to coffee production. Coffee is second to qat as a cash crop. (qat is a popular mild stimulant, whose leaves are chewed). Coffee is produced on approximately 99,000 small family holdings, which means the average plot of coffee is grown on just under three fourths of an acre. That acreage is often very steep as most coffee is grown in the mountains on terraces carved out of the precipitous hillsides.
Yields are low. The small size of the farms, scarcity of water and poor cultivation techniques hamper production. Many of the coffee farms are cultivated by tenant farmers, deterring investment as well in terracing, water conservation, and other improvements. The various cultivars of coffea arabica grown in the mountains are some of the oldest known, and most are known only in Yemen.
Coffee from Yemen has been prized for centuries. It was once one of the top producers in the world, and its coffee, exported from the old Yemeni port of Mocha, is the original Mocha in Mocha Java, when traders blended Middle Eastern coffee with the Dutch coffee from Southeast Asia. Yemeni coffee is scarce in contrast with other coffee producing nations; Yemen consumes almost three quarters of its production at home, and 55% of what it does export goes to its wealthy neighbor to the north, Saudi Arabia.